The PGA TOUR travels to Las Vegas for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin. The course will play as a par 71, measuring 7,255 yards, and move to bentgrass greens this week.
Defending champion Kevin Na ($8,600) gained an enormous amount of strokes on the greens last season, and while rolling it well on these fast, bentgrass greens is great, TPC Summerlin is still a second-shot course. Golfers like Patton Kizzire ($6,300), Jordan Spieth and Na have stated how vital the approach shot is at TPC Summerlin, and the data proves it. The top five finishers have gained over two times the strokes with approach against off-the-tee and around-the-greens. Spieth went further and said, “it’s more of a second-shot golf course where it requires a lot of precision from the short irons. Maybe pitching wedge to short irons.”
TPC Summerlin should give way to an excess of birdies, as long as the wind doesn’t pick up. Last season, scores averaged -3.25 RTP on Saturday and -1.763 RTP on Sunday. The cut lines over the last two years averaged three-under-par, so birdies or better should be high on our key statistic models.
Roster construction doesn’t need to fit a particular type of ‘build’ this week. In 2019, there were only two golfers under $7,000 who finished inside the top 12 in DraftKings scoring. Last season, that number more than doubled with five golfers under $7,000 finishing inside the top 12. We should be leaning towards rostering the expensive golfers with cheap players this week, with a smaller amount of value in the mid-range than previous weeks.
Hideki Matsuyama - $9,900
‘Deki’s two appearances at the Shriners read 10th in 2014 and 16th in 2019, gaining an average of 7.05 strokes tee-to-green. The putting woes hurt him at Winged Foot recently, but Matsuyama still finished in a very respectable 17th place, again gaining a ton of strokes tee-to-green (+12.6). Hideki’s made six straight cuts, and with other golfers like Bryson DeChambeau ($11,800), Webb Simpson ($11,000) and Matthew Wolff ($9,600) in the field, Hideki might go more under the radar than he should.
Collin Morikawa - $9,800
Second-shot golf courses mean we should consider one of the best iron-players on the PGA TOUR. Morikawa should fare well on some of the more challenging holes, ranking 37th in par 4 efficiency on holes 450 to 500 yards over the last few months. He should contend when this becomes a birdie fest, ranking fifth in birdies or better gained, third in eagles and top three in approach since the restart. The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open could become a putting match, and Morikawa has gained strokes on bentgrass while struggling on poa annua and bermuda this season.
Byeong Hun An - $7,100
Missing the cut three times in his last five starts is not an example of consistency, and while we shouldn’t be overlooking his recent struggles, we shouldn’t be reading into it too much at this price tag. An showed us his upside with a top 12 at the BMW Championship and a 22nd at the PGA Championship not too long ago. He’s gained with his irons in five of his last six starts, and getting him on bentgrass should hopefully help his putting woes, where he’s lost 10.5 strokes on the greens total over his last two starts. Sergio Garcia ($9,100) showed us that losing strokes in nine straight doesn’t mean you can’t gain (and win) in your next tournament. Our collective eyes should be open to rostering An, even if it means we’ll have to look away when we click the ‘roster player’ button. Other golfers to consider in this range are Joel Dahmen ($7,100) and Keith Mitchell ($6,100) if you need someone cheap.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is reidtfowler) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.